Jonathan McGovern
Baritone

"What makes him special? A beautifully focused and warmly virile voice... great musical sensitivity... and an instantly winning and communicative personality." (The Telegraph)

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Clare Erskine +44 (0)20 3725 9145

Biography

A graduate of King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan McGovern has since distinguished himself as an exciting new vocal talent on both opera and concert stages alike. Upcoming highlights include Robert Carsen’s production of Les fêtes vénitiennes with Les Arts Florissants under Bill Christie on tour in Toulouse and New York, as well as his role and company debut as Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande) in a new production for English Touring Opera. Further ahead Jonathan makes debuts with Staatsoper Hamburg and Garsington Opera.

Recent engagements have included an outstanding debut as Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with Ensemble Modern under Kent Nagano at the

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A graduate of King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan McGovern has since distinguished himself as an exciting new vocal talent on both opera and concert stages alike. Upcoming highlights include Robert Carsen’s production of Les fêtes vénitiennes with Les Arts Florissants under Bill Christie on tour in Toulouse and New York, as well as his role and company debut as Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande) in a new production for English Touring Opera. Further ahead Jonathan makes debuts with Staatsoper Hamburg and Garsington Opera.

Recent engagements have included an outstanding debut as Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with Ensemble Modern under Kent Nagano at the Konzerthaus Berlin, Konzerthaus Dortmund and Dresdner Musikfestspiele. He also sang the role of Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at the Verbier Festival, the title role in Il ritorno d’Ulisse under Christian Curnyn and the title role in Telemann’s Orpheus under Ian Page at the London Handel Festival.

Further highlights this season include Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) under Trevor Pinnock at the Wigmore Hall, Alidoro in Cesti’s Orontea with La Nuova Musica under David Bates and Pilate in Luigi Rossi's Per la settimana santa at the Spitalfields Music Festival under Christian Curnyn.

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Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Clare Erskine +44 (0)20 3725 9145

Reviews

"McGovern also gets lucky, in that he has the disc’s plum. Le promenoir des deux amants seems to build on the achievement of all these earlier songs. Dense, compressed, languorous yet haunted, it holds one from the very first sensuous harmonies in the piano part. Plenty of fine French baritones have preceded McGovern here – Bernac, Souzay, Panzéra, Bernard Kruysen, to name but four – but I cannot fault McGovern’s responsiveness to Debussy’s every scrupulous marking, and his French is good, too." (Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, November 2014)

"Jonathan McGovern's burnished baritone embraces both the heroism of Ulysses and the emotional torture of this culminating episode of his

...

"McGovern also gets lucky, in that he has the disc’s plum. Le promenoir des deux amants seems to build on the achievement of all these earlier songs. Dense, compressed, languorous yet haunted, it holds one from the very first sensuous harmonies in the piano part. Plenty of fine French baritones have preceded McGovern here – Bernac, Souzay, Panzéra, Bernard Kruysen, to name but four – but I cannot fault McGovern’s responsiveness to Debussy’s every scrupulous marking, and his French is good, too." (Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, November 2014)

"Jonathan McGovern's burnished baritone embraces both the heroism of Ulysses and the emotional torture of this culminating episode of his odyssey." (Rian Evans, The Guardian, July 2014)

"There are some formidable voices on display… Jonathan McGovern’s dynamically sung Ulysses, who offers plenty of presence." (George Hall, The Stage, July 2014)

"Jonathan McGovern as the wandering hero Ulysses who brought a powerful baritone which also could spin a line with ease." (Sue Loder, Opera Today, July 2014)

“The cast was dominated by Chritopher Purves’ and Jonathan McGovern’s tortured portrayals, respectively, of Sam and Junior.” (Carlos Maria Solare, Opera, March 2014)

“… the excellent singers, among them a particularly lovely Adam and Eve from Jonathan McGovern and Charlotte Beament….” (Neil Fisher, The Times, December 2013)

“Claudia Boyle (Dede), Jonathan McGovern (Junior) and Christopher Purves (Sam) sing impressively.” (Peter Uehling, Berliner Zeitung, November 2013)

“The Konzerthaus performance shows that the new version for chamber orchestra is an excellent idea, though it has to be said that we were spoilt with a cast, conductor and ensemble which could not have been bettered. Also from a theatrical point of view. Although dressed in concert attire, the soloists left a shattering mark on the audience with their portrayal of a damaged family: above all the young baritone Jonathan McGovern.” (Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost, November 2013)

“Jonathan McGovern delivered an accomplished performance, both vocally and dramatically, of Junior’s pathological outbursts.” (Ursula Wiegand, Der Neue Merker, November 2013)

“Jonathan McGovern, the ardent-voiced lost IT man, was a real discovery. A sudden change of mood and pace occurred when McGovern's character, Simon, sings a lament for his baby, a cot death victim. This was a powerful aria: one of opera's most traditional ingredients leapt out of all the hypertech and cyberworld frippery and ambushed us completely, no 3D specs required. Yearning and weeping, his suffering was all the more piercing for its control and lyricism.”  (Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, April 2013, on English National Opera's production of Sunken Garden)

"The opera’s three live singers were superb. Two singers on film, Jonathan McGovern and Kate Miller-Heidke, were equally compelling. Mr. McGovern was a heartbreaking Simon. (Steve Smith, The New York Times, April 2013)

"McGovern brings an earnest beauty to everything he sings." (Roderic Dunnett, The Arts Desk, March 2013)

"Jonathan McGovern sounded superb in the tiny part of Yamadori." (Opera Magazine, July 2012)

"[...] while Jonathan McGovern made much of Prince Yamadori’s brief role, offering sincerity and a fine rounded tone." (Opera Britannia, May 2012)

"What makes him special? Not just his beautifully focused and warmly virile voice, matched to great musical sensitivity, but also that rarest of attributes – an instantly winning and communicative personality." (The Telegraph, January 2012)

"Others making their mark included Jonathan McGovern, whose Sid was spledidly sung and acted." (Opera Magazine, January 2012)

"McGovern's baritone rang out strong and clear. . . [In] Dover Beach, McGovern established a more sombre presence now, imbuing the lyrical, unfolding vocal lines with emotional depth and sensitivity. . .McGovern's commitment to the text was sustained and intense, as he sought to do justice to the composer's detailed word painting, without over-emphasis or undue theatricality. . . maintained a quiet intensity throughout. . .[In] 'An die Geliebte'...McGovern achieved a rapt intensity here, the silvery tone of his upper range wonderfully capturing the shimmer of the glistening nocturnal sky." (Opera Today, Dec 2011)

"'...dragging cosy Jubilee Hall kicking and screaming into the new studio space Mears was at once looking to a future exemplified by Jonathan McGovern’s slick, vaguely rocker-boy, Sid (quite the star of the show not least from a vocal point of view)." (The Independent, October 2011)

"'Everyone else was barely out of college but delivering some seriously accomplished performances – especially Jonathan McGovern's Sid and Maria Friselier's Nancy.'" (The Telegraph, October 2011)

"'Three baritones were first class:.... Even stronger was the incisive, commanding Jonathan McGovern, 25, who sang Britten's 'Billy in the Darbies' from Billy Budd with blazing sincerity and infused a Rachmaninov song with palpitating passion... I would have plumped for McGovern as winner..." (The Telegraph, May 2011)

"Binding and offsetting this principal group are a pool of smaller roles, from which Jonathan McGovern's chameleon baritone stood out - or rather he didn't, decorously sublimating himself into his functional roles, including the voice of the Chinese father-puppet." (Framescourer, March 2011)

Discography

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